In the manufacturing of modern solar cells, the early-phase quality inspection is crucial to detect harmful impurities and to reduce production waste. Thus, the charge-carrier lifetime measurement is beneficial before slicing the silicon ingot into wafers. Optimization of the widely used eddy-current detected photoconductance decay (e-PCD) technique for lifetime measurements is necessary to keep the pace with the new challenges appearing in photovoltaics. We investigated the dependence of the accuracy of the measurable carrier lifetime on the excitation laser parameters in the entire relevant carrier lifetime range. The complex behaviour of surface-recombination phenomena and its time evolution is studied by computer simulation. We optimized the components and parameters of the measurement setup and found that a 1064 nm laser is rather optimal compared to the 980 nm laser used previously. Using a longer wavelength laser source with elevated photon flux results in an improved accuracy of carrier lifetime recorded at Δn = 1015 cm−3 excess carrier concentration. A convincing similarity is found by comparing results from as-sliced and passivated surfaces. The optimized laser e-PCD method was compared to the flash-lamp based PCD method (known as QSSPC). Results agree very well for longer carrier lifetimes for which both systems evaluates the PCD curves in transient mode. However, for lower carrier lifetimes the universal transient mode operation of the e-PCD method is advantageous in terms of consistency.
You can read the full article about our joint research with LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. in EPJ Photovoltaics 13, 3 (2022)